Why Does My Candle Smell Burnt? (With Easy Fixes)

Common Candle Problems and Easy Fixes

Do you ever light a craft candle only to be met with a less-than-pleasant burnt smell? Or maybe your candle burns unevenly, leaving wax on the sides of the jar. These common candle problems can be frustrating, especially if you’ve invested in a high-quality candle. But fear not – there are easy tips for these issues that will have your candles burning beautifully in no time. One trick that works is to place the jarred candle on a baking pan before lighting it. This will prevent any wax from spilling onto surfaces and keep the candle burning evenly.

Crafting candles can have its challenges, but with a few tips, you can avoid common problems. One important factor to consider is the size of the wick in relation to the diameter of your candle. Using a wick that is too small can cause tunneling, while a wick that is too large can result in uneven burning. Another consideration is the type of wax you use, which can affect the color and scent of your candle. Adding coloring to your wax can create unique and beautiful candles. Finally, be mindful of fragrance concentration – using too much or too little can impact the strength of the scent throw. To achieve a smooth finish on your candles, consider using a baking pan as a makeshift double boiler when melting your wax.

Luckily, fixing these issues doesn’t require any special skills or tools. Trimming the wick to the appropriate length before each burn and adjusting burn times based on candle size can be helpful tips to prevent uneven burning and tunneling. Testing different types of wax can be a way to improve scent throw, while experimenting with coloring can add a new dimension to your candles.

Properly caring for your soy wax candles is also important in preventing common problems from occurring. Keeping them away from drafts and trimming the wick regularly are simple tips that can make all the difference. Additionally, testing the wax and coloring are important steps to ensure the quality of your candles.

By understanding common soy wax candle problems and their easy fixes, you’ll be able to enjoy longer-lasting and better-performing candles. So next time your candle smells burnt or isn’t burning evenly, don’t toss it out just yet – try one of these simple solutions instead! Regular testing is crucial to ensure the design of your soy wax candles are up to par.

Reasons Why a Candle May Smell Burnt

Overheating of the Candle Wax

One of the main reasons why a candle may smell burnt is due to overheating of the candle wax. When a candle burns for an extended period, the wax can become too hot, leading to a burnt smell. This overheating can be caused by various factors, such as placing the candle in direct sunlight or near heat sources like stoves and heaters.

To prevent this from happening, it’s important to ensure that your candles are placed in cool and dry places away from any heat sources. You should avoid burning your candles for more than four hours at a time. If you’re using larger candles, it’s best to burn them for shorter periods to prevent overheating.

The Type of Wick Used in the Candle

The type of wick used in a candle can also cause it to emit a burnt smell. A wick that is too thick or too thin may not burn correctly, leading to an uneven burn and an unpleasant odor. If the wick is made from poor-quality materials or is coated with chemicals that produce smoke when burned, this can also lead to a burnt smell.

To avoid this problem, always choose high-quality candles with cotton wicks that are properly sized for their containers. You should also trim your wick before each use to ensure that it burns evenly and doesn’t create soot.

Burning the Candle for Too Long or Not Trimming the Wick

Burning your candle for too long without trimming its wick can lead to an unpleasant burnt smell. When you don’t trim your wick regularly, it becomes longer and harder to light properly. This causes the flame to grow larger than usual and leads to overheating of the wax.

To prevent this issue from occurring, make sure you trim your wick before lighting it each time. Trim it down so that there is only about 1/4 inch of the wick exposed. This will ensure that your candle burns evenly and doesn’t emit a burnt smell.

Poor Quality or Old Candles

Old or poor-quality candles can also produce a burnt smell due to the breakdown of fragrance oils. When candles are stored for long periods, their fragrance oils can evaporate, leading to an unpleasant scent when burned. If the wax has become contaminated with dust or other debris, this can also cause it to emit a burnt odor.

To avoid this problem, always store your candles in cool and dry places away from sunlight and heat sources. You should also use them within six months of purchase to ensure that they retain their fragrance and burn cleanly.

Tips for Properly Burning Your Candle

Trim the Wick to 1/4 Inch Before Lighting the Candle

One of the most common reasons why candles smell burnt is because of an untrimmed wick. A long wick can cause the flame to burn too hot, which can lead to soot and smoke. To avoid this, always trim your candle’s wick to 1/4 inch before lighting it. You can use scissors or a wick trimmer to do this.

Trimming the wick will also help prevent mushrooming, where carbon builds up at the tip of the wick and creates a small ball or “mushroom” shape. If left untrimmed, this mushrooming can cause your candle to burn unevenly, produce more soot and smoke, and even create a fire hazard.

Keep the Candle Away from Drafts and Flammable Objects

Another reason why candles may smell burnt is due to drafts or being placed near flammable objects. When a candle burns in a drafty area, it can cause an unstable flame that flickers and produces more soot and smoke than usual. Similarly, if you place your candle near flammable objects like curtains or papers, they could easily catch fire.

To prevent these issues, always keep your candle away from drafts by placing it on a stable surface where there is no wind blowing directly onto it. Also, make sure there are no flammable objects nearby that could ignite if they come into contact with the flame.

Allow the Candle to Burn for at Least 2 Hours on First Use

When you first light your new candle, allow it to burn for at least two hours before extinguishing it. This will help prevent tunneling – when only a small hole has been melted in the center of the wax while leaving untouched wax around its sides – which happens when a candle doesn’t melt evenly across its surface during its initial burn.

Tunneling can cause your candle to burn unevenly, which will eventually lead to the wick drowning in un-melted wax and becoming unusable. By allowing your candle to burn for two hours on its first use, you’re giving it enough time to melt the entire surface of the wax evenly, which will prevent tunneling and ensure that your candle burns evenly throughout its life.

Extinguish the Flame Using a Snuffer or by Gently Blowing It Out

Finally, when it’s time to extinguish your candle, make sure you do so properly. Blowing out a candle can create smoke and soot, which can cause unpleasant smells and even trigger respiratory problems. Instead, use a snuffer or gently blow out the flame with your mouth covered with your hand.

A snuffer is a small tool designed specifically for extinguishing candles safely without creating any smoke or soot. You can find them at most home goods stores or online. If you don’t have a snuffer handy, simply cover the flame with an object like a lid or coaster until it goes out on its own.

By following these tips for properly burning your candle – trimming the wick before lighting it, keeping it away from drafts and flammable objects, allowing it to burn for at least two hours on its first use, and extinguishing the flame using a snuffer or gentle blowing – you’ll be able to enjoy your candles without any unpleasant burnt smells.

The Foil Tent Method to Fix Candle Tunneling

What is candle tunneling?

Candle tunneling is a common issue that occurs when the wax in a candle burns down the center, leaving a thick wall of wax on the sides and a small melt pool. This creates an uneven burn and can significantly reduce the lifespan of your candle.

How does the foil tent method work?

The foil tent method involves creating a tent with aluminum foil around the candle to trap heat and encourage the wax to melt evenly. To use this method, wrap the candle in foil, leaving a small opening at the top for air flow, and light the candle for a few hours. The heat from the flame will be trapped inside the tent, melting any wax that has built up on the sides of your container while encouraging an even melt pool.

Can I fix sinkholes with this method?

Yes! Sinkholes are a common candle problem that can occur during candle making when there are gaps or holes in the melt pool caused by uneven burning. This can be caused by using the wrong size candle wicks or not placing them correctly in the candle containers. However, the foil tent method can fix sinkholes by melting the wax evenly and filling in any holes or gaps in your melt pool.

How do I prevent tunneling from happening again?

To prevent tunneling from occurring again in future burns, it’s important to let your candle burn until the entire surface has melted. This means allowing your candle to burn for several hours until all of the wax has melted into a full melt pool across its entire surface. If you extinguish your candle before it has fully melted, you risk creating another tunnel on subsequent burns.

What causes tunneling?

Tunneling can be caused by several factors including using short wicks that don’t reach all areas of your container, not allowing enough time for your initial burn (the first time you light your candle), or not trimming your wick properly before each use.

How do I fix short wick tunneling candles?

If you’re experiencing tunneling due to a short wick, there are a few things you can do to fix the issue. First, try using a wick trimmer to trim your wick before each use. This will help ensure that your wick is long enough to reach all areas of your container and encourage an even burn. You might consider melting the wax around the edges of your container with a heat gun or hair dryer before lighting your candle. This will help create a more even surface for your melt pool and prevent tunneling from occurring.

Allowing Your Candle to Cure Before Burning

Why is curing important?

Curing your candle before burning it is an essential step in the candle-making process. Curing allows the wax and fragrance oils to bind together, resulting in a stronger scent throw and better performance overall. Without allowing your candle to cure, you may experience a weaker scent or even a burnt smell.

How long should I cure my candle?

The recommended curing time for most candles is 24-48 hours. However, the exact time can vary depending on factors such as the type of wax used and the fragrance load. It’s best to follow the instructions provided with your candle-making kit or consult with an experienced candle maker for guidance.

What happens if I don’t let my candle cure?

If you light your candle before it has had time to properly cure, you may notice a weak scent throw or even a burnt smell. This can be disappointing after putting in all the effort to make your own candles! Not allowing your candle to cure can result in uneven burning and poor performance overall.

How do I test my cured candle’s performance?

After allowing your candle to cure for at least 24 hours, it’s important to test its performance before lighting it for an extended period of time. Light your candle for short periods (around 30 minutes) and observe how it burns. Does it burn evenly? Is there a strong scent throw? If everything looks good after several test burns, then you’re ready to enjoy your freshly made candle!

What else should I keep in mind when curing my candles?

It’s important to store your candles properly while they are curing. Keep them away from direct heat or sunlight, as this can affect their coloring and glass containers. You may also want to consider placing them in a cool area where they won’t be disturbed by pets or children.

Using the Correct Amount of Fragrance Oil in Your Candle

The Importance of Using the Right Amount of Fragrance Oil

Candle making is a delicate process that requires precision and attention to detail. One crucial aspect of candle making is using the correct amount of fragrance oil. The amount of fragrance oil used can affect the performance and scent throw of your candle.

Using too much fragrance oil in candle making can cause a burnt smell, which can be unpleasant for candle makers and users. On the other hand, using too little fragrance oil with candle wax and candle wicks can result in a weak scent throw, which may leave candle makers and users unsatisfied with their purchase.

Understanding Fragrance Load

Fragrance load refers to the percentage of fragrance oil that should be added to wax during candle making. The recommended fragrance load for soy wax is between 6-10% of the wax weight. However, this percentage may vary depending on the type of wax being used.

It’s crucial to follow the recommended guidelines when adding fragrance oil to your candle wax. Overusing or underusing fragrance oil can lead to problems such as poor scent throw, uneven burning, and even safety hazards such as excessive smoking or flaring.

Adjusting for Different Types of Containers

The type of container you use for your candle also plays a role in determining how much fragrance oil you should use. Glass containers require less fragrance oil compared to other types of containers such as metal tins or ceramic jars.

When making candles, it’s best to start with a lower percentage (around 6%) of fragrance oil and adjust accordingly based on your desired scent strength. This applies to all types of candle wax and candle wicks. However, common candle problems may arise if you use glass containers, which require a lower percentage due to their material properties.

Easy Fixes for Burnt Smelling Candles

If you’ve already made candles that have a burnt smell due to overusing fragrance oil, don’t worry! There are several easy fixes you can try:

  • Trim the wick: A wick that is too long can cause a candle to burn too hot, leading to a burnt smell. Trim the wick to ¼ inch before lighting your candle.
  • Let it cure: Candles need time to “cure” or settle after being made. Allow your candles to sit for at least 24 hours before burning them.
  • Use a different container: If you’re using a container that’s causing your candle to burn too hot, try switching to one made of a different material such as glass or ceramic.
  • Try a different fragrance oil: If you’re experiencing common candle problems during the candle making process, such as issues with the candle wax or candle containers, consider trying a different fragrance oil from another supplier. Not all fragrance oils are created equal and a change in scent could make all the difference.

Choosing the Right Wick Size for Each Scent

The Importance of Wick Size in Candle Making

Candle making is an art that requires precision and careful consideration of various factors, including the type of wax used, the fragrance oil concentration, and most importantly, the wick size. Choosing the right wick size is crucial to ensure that your candle scent is properly dispersed. If you’ve ever wondered why your candle smells burnt or doesn’t emit enough fragrance, it could be due to using the wrong wick size.

Determining the Appropriate Wick Size

The wick size should be determined by two main factors: the diameter of the candle and the type of wax used. A wick that is too small can result in a weak scent throw, while a wick that is too large can cause the candle to burn too quickly and produce soot. To determine which wick size is appropriate for your candle design, follow these steps:

  1. Measure your candle making container’s diameter: Use a ruler or tape measure to measure across the widest part of your candle wax container. This can help prevent candle problems.
  2. Refer to a wick sizing chart: Many online resources offer charts that suggest which specific wicks are best suited for particular diameters and types of wax, making it easier for candle makers to choose the right wick for their candle container. This can help prevent common candle problems such as uneven burning and excessive smoking.
  3. Test different wick sizes during candle making development: It’s important to test different wick sizes with each candle wax and candle container to find what works best and avoid potential candle problems in your series.

Testing Different Wick Sizes During Development

When testing different sizes during candle making development, start with smaller sizes first before working up to larger ones if necessary. Begin by pouring a small amount of wax into a container and placing a pre-tabbed wick at its center according to manufacturer instructions. Allow it time to cool completely before lighting it up and observing its performance.

If you notice any signs such as excessive mushrooming or soot, it’s an indication that the wick is too large. If the flame appears weak or doesn’t reach all parts of the wax pool, it could be due to a wick that is too small. In either case, adjust the wick size accordingly and repeat the testing process until you find the optimal size for each scent.

Preventing Burnt-Smelling Candles in the Future

After experiencing a burnt-smelling candle, it’s important to take steps to prevent it from happening again. Here are some tips to help you avoid this problem in the future:


How can I prevent my candle from tunneling?

Tunneling occurs when a candle burns down the middle, leaving wax on the sides and a small hole in the center. To prevent this, make sure to burn your candle for at least 2-3 hours each time you light it. This will allow the wax to melt evenly across the surface of the candle.

Why is it important to let my candle cure before burning?

Curing allows fragrance oils and other ingredients to blend together properly, resulting in a stronger scent throw and better performance overall. It’s recommended that you let your candles cure for at least 24-48 hours before burning them.

How do I know if I’m using too much fragrance oil?

Using too much fragrance oil can cause your candle to smell overpowering or even burnt. A good rule of thumb is to use no more than 1 ounce of fragrance oil per pound of wax.

What size wick should I use for my candles?

The size of wick you need depends on several factors, including the diameter of your container, type of wax used, and amount of fragrance oil added. It’s best to consult with a professional or do some research before choosing a wick size.

Can I fix a burnt-smelling candle?

Yes! The foil tent method described earlier can be effective in fixing tunneling issues and restoring an even burn. Letting your candle cure before burning and using proper amounts of fragrance oil can also help improve its performance.

In conclusion, preventing burnt-smelling candles requires careful attention to detail when making and burning them. By following these tips and taking care with each step along the way, you can enjoy a beautiful, fragrant candle without any unpleasant odors or issues. Remember to let your candles cure before burning, use the correct amount of fragrance oil and wick size, and consider trying the foil tent method if tunneling occurs. Happy candle-making!